A FREE skills development opportunity aimed at individuals based in the South West who are under-represented in the cinema sector (particularly people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI+ people, women and those from low socio-economic backgrounds) interested in putting on film screenings.
Following an Introduction to Film Curation Workshop held in the summer of 2019 we designed a 6 month package of support to introduce a cohort of individuals, with a passion for cinema exhibition, to core skills and considerations for developing and delivering cultural film screening events. We hosted monthly workshops which included: a film screening, a roundtable catch up with the group and a focussed session on one of the following topics: film curation; event producing; fundraising, finance and budgeting; social media and marketing; technical skills and delivery planning. We didn't know whether this model of structured sessions would be appealing or whether it would work in terms of both engagement of the group and leading to outcomes in terms of screening events. We anticipated match-making participants with venues / film festivals but this was very much an experiment designed to test out this method of working, allowing room for co-design with the group. Not all members of the cohort attended every one of the six sessions, with average attendance sitting at 12, however all attended more than one and made a connection with the other members of the group.
To identify new talent in film programming and curation and event producing from underrepresented backgrounds
To develop the skills, confidence and networks of the participants
To create opportunities for participants to connect with the exhibition sector in the South West & deliver collaborative projects and programmes
To create more diversity within the South West exhibition sector
16 individuals from Bristol, Plymouth, Taunton and Bath participated in the programme
100% participants were from backgrounds currently under-represented in the cinema sector (people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI people, women and those from low socio-economic backgrounds).
6 audience facing events were supported through this programme (unfortunately two were cancelled due to COVID-19)
The cohort are continuing to work together and are considering future projects
100% participants found the programme valuable and would recommend it to others
The Beyond Boundaries cohort have been successful in developing programmes and accessing funding for #FilmFeels Connected
A Family Called Abrew and Philomelia’s Chorus
Sister Acts: a programme of D/deaf shorts from Encounters Film Festival
Feminista Film Festival UK Tour
Britishness, Signs & Boys Like Us
New Voices short film screening
Trinity Arts Centre
Plymouth Arts Cinema
Trowbridge Town Hall
Speakers who supported the development of the group:
Budget in brief
Training programme £2,500
(Additional £5,000 to support screening activity in partnership with Film Hub member organisations)
Creating a space for participants to share ideas and inspiration with one another was key to the success of this programme. The group learnt as much from each other as from the guest speakers and the support and advice they provided for one another drove projects forward as well as establishing collaborative activity
Watching films & curated programmes together was effective in stimulating discussion around the role of curator and examining the purpose and vision behind showing particular kinds of film and the dialogue that could be created around it. It gave the group inspiration for their own events both in terms of what they wanted to do and what they wanted to avoid!
4 members of the group participated in the Feminista Film Festival UK Tour, presenting screenings at Watershed, Trowbridge Town Hall, Plymouth Arts Cinema, Exeter Phoenix with additional contextualising activity including a panel discussion, a dance workshop and an open conversation.
Fly! Festival of Black Women's Film was developed and received funding for activity in May and October (in response to Covid-19 this project pivoted to online delivery throughout May/June)
The group collaborated on an event at Trinity Arts Centre for International Women's Day with a screening of Honeyland plus food (Cancelled due to Covid-19)
Members of the group are now running a weekly film club online to keep in touch and connected with film
What has been difficult
Addressing the implicit power dynamics at play in a programme led by the white / privileged / institution with the ability to award funds and the individuals participating in the programme
Finding the balance between creating a programme that is responsive to the needs of the cohort while also having a set structure to ensure the responsibility was not with the participants to design the programme
Time commitment for the participants juggling other responsibilities and work
Managing our expectation around participant turn-up and engagement (is there a minimum requirement to remain part of the group?) and also managing expectations of the group around the support available.
What you would do differently if you did it again
We have made the decision to continue to work with members of the first cohort - understanding that meaningful engagement doesn't have a set time limit and requires long-term relationship building and development
Recognise that there is no one size fits all approach to inclusion and that one programme will not be able to cater to people of all backgrounds and abilities without specialist support and resources. We realised that we had not made the call for participants accessible to people with learning disabilities nor was much of the content accessible. In the future we want to work with partner organisations with expertise in this area to help us design a programme that would be truly inclusive.
Beyond Boundaries 360 proved effective in attracting a diverse range of practitioners and organisations to get involved in the exhibition sector and helped them to either become FAN members or to develop partnerships with FAN member venues.
Examples of activity that was supported through this programme:
- Beyond Boundaries 360 supported 4 members of the group in presenting the Feminista Film Festival UK Tour (short films about women and girls around the world) at venues in the South West:
Plymouth based producer and film programmer, Lauren Tenn, introduced the Feminista programme at Plymouth Arts Cinema and hosted a panel discussion after the screening.
- Venezuelan journalist and film promotor Lorena Pino, brought #GettingTogetherThroughFilms back to Trowbridge Town Hall with a screening she introduced.
- Film curator and creative producer Rebecca Ballard introduced Watershed’s Feminista screening and hosted a discussion around inspiring women in the bar afterwards.
- Akulah Agbami, writer, poet, performer, theatre director, curator and creative, presented Feminista at Exeter Phoenix and ran a dance workshop afterwards as a way of processing the experience.
- Akulah Agbami from Sheba Soul Ensemble received mentoring and funding support for a new initiative focussed on Women of Colour at Arnolfini (converted to an online Festival – FLY! Festival of BLACK* Women’s Film – as a result of lockdown)
- East Bristol Cinema (Holly Muse, Roseanna Dias) are in the process of forming as an organisation and becoming FAN members
- Gary Thompson from Cables & Cameras planned an expanded Conversation event at Watershed building on his ongoing strand at The Cube and with mentoring support from We Are Parable (now working on an online blog focusing on BAME talent, Cables and Cameras +Friends)
- Rebecca Ballard has become involved in Queer Vision and is working on a programme of films to be screened as part of Encounters Film Festival
- Aysegul Epengin is setting up a new community cinema in Portsmouth and Lorena Pino is developing ongoing activity at Trowbridge Town Hall
- Adam Murray is setting up his own Horror film club in Bristol.
- Invited guest speakers, Roseanna Dias (Rising Arts Agency/Watershed /Trinity Arts) and Rabab Ghazoul (Gentle/Radical) were introduced to one another to co-present a Community Engagement workshop for Beyond Boundaries 360. As a result of this introduction they have gone on to collaborate on more projects together and Rabab has invited East Bristol Cinema to curate film programmes for Gentle/Radical.
Knowledge & Experience
- 86% of participants stated they learned something new of relevance to their practice or what they would like do
- 86% Made useful new contacts,
- 71% Gained fresh ideas and inspiration,
- 57% Developed new skills,
- 86% Gained in confidence around film curation,
- 100% Gained a better understanding of opportunities to participate in Film Hub supported activity
What audiences said
I've really enjoyed the Sunday morning screenings; they've been a wonderful mix of moving, funny, and informative short films. Being part of the group and hearing about other people's ideas has been hugely inspiring, and expert talks on every aspect of film programming have given me the knowledge to move forward with my own ideas.
I've really enjoyed working with a community of like-minded practitioners, collaboration, a better understanding of programming/curatorial process. Better understanding of funding prep’.
Even though we ended up not doing the event we organised during these months with Hribu (because of Covid-19) and it was disappointing, I think that the phrase 'the journey is more important than the destination' fits perfectly in our situation. I enjoyed everyone's energy, Tiffany's continuous support, the guests' enthusiasm to pass on their knowledge with us and the feeling of belonging.
It's been wonderful. Enriching and informative on so many different levels
They were all invaluable sessions and led by industry professionals who were passionate and well informed about their subject of expertise. Really engaging packed with info and resources.
I have been involved in different ways with Film Hub South West. First, as member of the training programme Beyond Boundaries 360, then in different networking opportunities, and getting support from specialist in different areas when a doubt arise during a film project.
I recently mentioned in social media " I can say my dream of working with films in the UK has a before and after since I met people from the Film Hub South West!
Not only they are giving me training, also support in different levels, networking opportunities and something unique that is always finding the way I get pay for my work in a fair/professional way! A HUGE Thanks"